Sunday, March 3, 2013

Turkey - Cappadocia

Damn that Brazilian soup opera!
- Christine Lagarde

So, after sailing the waters of the Blue Coast and taking a rest in Olympos from the rest we took on the cruise, we went to Göreme, Cappadocia, with a marvelous night bus.

Göreme is a small town merged with the rocks, caves and fairy chimneys that compose the landscape of Cappadocia. It's a very touristic place, but still a must go in Turkey.

Following some typical routes on the first two days, we were able to visit huge underground cities with vast halls and interesting ventilation systems. It's really impressive that people could make such big cities just by digging a soft rock with a harder one (apparently the rock formations around Göreme were soft enough at first, becoming harder when exposed to air). We also visited the open-air museum with its cave-churches and had a first view of valleys with fairy-chimneys and famous groups of caves used as homes in the past.

The judgement of the little fairy-chimney.

One classic experience in Göreme is the hot air balloon flight - a bit expensive, but certainly one thing we couldn't miss. Best thing is to take the earliest flight to see the sunrise and the other hundred balloons around you (which are as fascinating as the landscape itself). This was our first time in a hot air balloon - the ride is very smooth, definitely recommended. I really don't know how this balloon ride thing started, but now it's certainly a part of Göreme. Every morning it's possible to hear the sound of the balloons being inflated all around.

Many balloons and a surreal landscape.

Our restless companion.
After a couple of days checking the mainstream of Göreme, we spent the rest of our time there doing one of the best things one can do in Cappadocia: wander around. This region is perfect for hiking. The landscape and its colors change a lot within a few minutes walking. In one day walking over 25 km, we had a wide range of experiences: hidden grape crops, thousands of caves, giant professional rock-sliding cardboards, a misguiding salesman in the middle of nowhere (and whose suggestions could send you even further than nowhere) and a guide-dog. This dog was amazing - he followed us the whole day (actually, many times we had to follow him), eating lizards and greeting tourists he had guided previously. Though renting a scooter is a good alternative to reach farther places faster, hiking is the only way to get to the least accessible spots - definitely recommended.

Tisso's finger and  a rock-sliding cardboard we found on the ground.

Coming to an agreement during hiking. 

Well, this was our last experience in Turkey. From Göreme we took another body-punishing night bus to Istanbul and from there a flight to Tel-Aviv, Israel. To finish the posts about Turkey, here goes one last comment: during the time we were there, a Brazilian soup-opera depicting Turkey started on TV. From now on, it's likely that travelers will find swarms of Brazilians there (still very few compared to Paris, though). Therefore, sorry, folks - we have just given an extra nudge to a country pretty good in keeping a high inflation.

Now I leave you, dear reader (aka grandma), with the piercing-gaze cat:

Take a seat here and I'll make you an offer you can't refuse (Göreme, Turkey).

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